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Knowledge and Skepticism$
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Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Harry S. Silverstein

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780262014083

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262014083.001.0001

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Anti-Individualism, Self-Knowledge, and Why Skepticism Cannot Be Cartesian

Anti-Individualism, Self-Knowledge, and Why Skepticism Cannot Be Cartesian

(p.262) (p.263) 11 Anti-Individualism, Self-Knowledge, and Why Skepticism Cannot Be Cartesian
Knowledge and Skepticism

Leora Weitzman

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses anti-individualism—which often depicts the individual as a physical creature bounded by its skin—and how it runs contrary to the Cartesian view of the mind—which states that it is coherent to doubt whether any of one’s thoughts correspond to external objects. Anti-individualism contends that this is a conceptual truth; without objects external to an individual, that individual’s purported thoughts would have no content at all. A well-known argument presented by McKinsey holds out the possibility of proving to skeptics that there are physical things. Two things have been missing from this argument, however, and they shall be outlined here. First is a thorough assessment of the extent to which the anti-individualism it relies on can be made compelling for the skeptic. Second is the application of a lesson that can be drawn from Wittgenstein to the Cartesian self-knowledge which is the other main component of the argument.

Keywords:   anti-individualism, individual, Cartesian view, thoughts, external objects, McKinsey, skeptic, Wittgenstein, Cartesian self-knowledge

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